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Civil Litigation Discovery Legal Topics

Don’t Miss a Crucial Follow-Up Question

You prepare deposition or investigation questions in advance, but it’s the follow-up questions—often crafted on the fly—that may be the most important. Indeed, Michael Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee failed to ask the right “follow-up questions” when Cohen appeared before them last year and therefore failed to elicit crucial answers. Don’t make that mistake!

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Evidence Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

13 Routinely Helpful Cross-Examination Questions

thinkstockphotos-471597352 There are some questions that are virtually always safe to ask during cross-examination and often elicit pleasantly surprising answers. Consider asking these questions on your next cross—they could make all the difference.

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Checklists Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Really Listen to the Witness

listen_50736139It sounds obvious: You should always listen carefully to the witness during cross-examination. But listening means more than just hearing the words actually said. Ideally, your listening will go well beyond that, which can make all the difference in improving your cross-examination.

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Cross-Examining the Unimpeachable Witness

witness_87617035When you have to cross-examine a witness who is telling the truth—and is fully supported by a detailed consistent report prepared close to the time of the events he or she attests to—you’ll need to look for gaps in testimony and highlight and exploit those gaps if they fit your theory of the case.

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Litigation Strategy New Lawyers Trial Strategy

Questioning a Witness: Poor Questions Versus Good Ones

185496686When conducting direct examination, you generally can’t ask leading questions, i.e., ones that suggest a particular answer. Evid C §§764, 767(a)(2). And, of course, you can’t ask objectionable questions. For inexperienced practitioners, it can be hard to craft acceptable and effective questions while in the stressful moment. Practicing your questions in advance will be a great help, as will reviewing both positive and negative examples.

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Civil Litigation Discovery Legal Topics

Develop a Routine: Stock Questions to Ask in Every Deposition

185496686Every case is different, but there are some questions you should ask in most every deposition. Know your routine questions and use them.

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Don’t Irritate the Jury

 

85449976 Your carefully planned cross-examination will be worthless if you manage to irritate the jury. Keep in mind that the jury often focuses more on counsel than the witness. Before your next cross-examination, check out these common irritants and how to avoid them.

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Evidence Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

Excusal Remorse: I Want That Witness Back!

witness_78724356Trial attorneys sometimes get excusal remorse, i.e., they excuse a witness and then want to recall that witness back to the stand. Anticipate this reaction and take proaction.

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Civil Litigation Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

When It’s OK to Lead on Direct

court_57280447Litigators learn early that you can’t use leading questions during direct examination. But that’s not always true. You can ask leading questions on direct or redirect examination in certain “special circumstances where the interests of justice otherwise require.” But what circumstances are those?

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Civil Litigation Criminal Law Legal Topics Litigation Strategy Trial Strategy

When a Witness Has Selective Memory

187065476Some witnesses have a crystal clear memory about events unfavorable to your client, but express sweeping memory loss on other contemporaneous events. Here’s how to attack such selective memory.